“You are coming with me, remember?” He sat up now with his bare dark chest and belly in the sun.
“To my place.”
“And will I come back?”
He pulled his pants on. I walked away from him, feeling him behind me and smelling the willows.
“Yellow Woman,” he said.
But I only said that you were him and that I was Yellow Woman—I’m not really her—I have my own name and I come from the pueblo on the other side of the mesa. Your name is Silva and you are a stranger I met by the river yesterday afternoon.
I was wondering if Yellow Woman had known who she was—if she knew that she would become part of the stories. Maybe she’d had another name that her husband and relatives called her so that only the ka’tsina from the north and the storytellers would know her as Yellow Woman.
“I don’t have to go. What they tell in stories was only real then, back in time immemorial, like they say.”
I will see someone, eventually I will see someone, and then I will be certain that he is only a man—some man from nearby—and I will be sure that I am not Yellow Woman. Because she is from out of time past and I live now and I’ve been to school and there are highways and pickup trucks that Yellow Woman never saw.
“I don’t believe it. Those stories couldn’t happen now,” I said.
He shook his head and said softly, “But someday they will talk about us and they will say, ‘Those two lived long ago when things like that happened.’”
From here I can see the world.
He pulled me around and pinned me down with his arms and chest. “You don’t understand, do you, little Yellow Woman? You will do what I want.”
And again he was all around me with his skin slippery against mine, and I was afraid because I understood that his strength could hurt me. I lay underneath him and I knew that he could destroy me.
Silva had come for me; he said he had. I did not decide to go. I just went. Moonflowers blossom in the sand hills before dawn, just as I followed him.
“Where did you get the fresh meat?” the white man asked.
“I’ve been hunting,” Silva said, and when he shifted his weight in the saddle the leather creaked.
“The hell you have, Indian. You’ve been rustling cattle. We’ve been looking for the thief for a long time…Don’t try anything, Indian. Just keep riding to Marquez. We’ll call the state police from there.”
I saw the leaves and I wanted to go back to him—to kiss him and to touch him—but the mountains were too far away now. And I told myself, because I believe it, he will come back sometime and be waiting again by the river.
I decided to tell them that some Navajo had kidnapped me, but I was sorry that old Grandpa wasn’t alive to hear my story because it was the Yellow Woman stories he liked to tell best.